The student news site of Glenn High School

The Growl

The student news site of Glenn High School

The Growl

The student news site of Glenn High School

The Growl

In Loving Memory Album Review

An album by Sean Leon
Sean Leon released his fourth studio album, “In Loving Memory” on Dec. 1 2023.

Sean Leon is a hip-hop artist and founder of label IXXI Initivtive from Toronto, Canada. Leon created his label in 2012 but started his career in 2013 with his debut mixtape “Ninelevenne.” Leon has been collaborating with artists such as Kayne West on parts of  “Jesus is King,”  West’s 9th studio album, and showing up in Daniel Casear’s EP titled “Pilgrim’s Paradise” who both appear in “In Loving Memory.” This latest release from Sean Leon has been a long time coming as the song “BURNING EVERYTHING,” a single from both West and Leon, released almost a year ago in 2022, was said to appear on “In Loving Memory.” He’s been trying to catch up on his album release schedule, which is why this album released a month prior on December 1, 2023.


The album was made to remember Kingsley, Leon’s brother, who he lost in 2020. The album explores how Leon handled his grief from the loss of his brother. Compared to his other album’s, this one stands out as he makes the switch from hip-hop to melchaolic R&B while still including bars that hit the listener in the feelings. Leon helped develop songs for major artists such as Daniel Ceasar and Kayne West, in return they collaborated with him on this project. The song “BURNING EVERYTHING” didn’t appear on the initial release of the album. It’s unsure if it’ll be on the deluxe.


In Loving Memory (Feat: Ye and Daniel Ceasar ): The track opens with a chorus from Leon and the only line from Ceasar being “I get high on your memory.” Synth cords and soft piano keys play in the background.  An unknown Jamaican says the line, “If you are not born to take Jesus in your life, it is your business,” before a Kayne West snippet of him singing and playing the piano plays for a couple seconds. This is same track is used on “Memories” played later in the tracklist. 


Gravity: Strings and backing vocals lead in Leon’s first verse as an acoustic guitar plays after his first line. In this song, Leon talks about how misses his girl to help hold him down even though they’re both hurting eachother, taking trips to Jamaica to get his mind off her but he’s still stunned when seeing her. 


Blood: This song has one of the best intros of the entire album. It opens up with a snippet of “In loving memory,” then switching to a beautiful electric guitar opener bringing in horns before Leon begins the only verse in song. Leon brings up his girl again in this love song showing how much he misses her since he’s been in Jamaica.


Memories (Reprise) (Feat: River Tiber): The song opens up immediately with a chorus and verse from Tiber with the line “It’s love, its how we view,” repeated throughout the entire track, with the electronic chords from the opening of the album in the background.


Transition: The same unknown Jamaican from the opening track “In Loving Memory” says the line, “If you are not born to take Jesus in your life, it is your business.”


Aquarius: Soft piano and drums play as an electric guitar plays lightly until the opening verse from Sean Leon, where a deep bass comes in. Lean describes discontentment with his girl and how he doesn’t feel like himself, neglecting helping himself by pushing his problems to the side when he’s not with her. I love how near the end of the song it switches up with the drums turning into this surreal sounding blend of the sample track.


Transition, again: The transition starts with a spoken quote, “I’m tired of Earth, these people. I’m tired of being caught in the tangle of their lies,” from the 2009 flim “Watchmen” switching to a verse from an unknown person repeating, “Maybe someday we will meet in the corner of my mind.” Only reason I can think of for him including this is to reference his late brother.


The Glade (Feat. Daniel Caesar): Light acoustic guitar and backing vocals from Sean Leon lead into his first verse. Deep bass is introduced along with occasional electric piano and guitar chords throughout the song. The Glade is an original version of Kanye West’s song “Up From The Ashes” that was released on 2021’s Donda deluxe. According to Sean it was recorded in 2018 and at some point featured Daniel Caesar.


Equinox: The song opens with minor galactic sounding piano chords and chimes until an unknown women sings the lines, “You are my sunshine.” It’s very beautiful, and I love how it switches from a galactic to a regular piano. During this segment a ton of gospel chords play and they all blend together so well. Sean Leon gets introduced at the 1:13 mark, repeating the lines “Girl, you’re my sunshine!” the song seems to the calm down with minor high pitched chords play in the background. Sean Leon proceeds to sing about him waking up in the morning before it switches to him rapping which at the 4:17 mark, fast heavy bass gets introduced and it goes hard while Leon spits bar after bar. I didn’t expect this from this song at all, the switch up is crazy. The beginning reminds me a lot of Tyler, the Creator’s early work, but Leon putting in those rap verses at the end is exactly what makes this song so unique and definitely a must listen.


Dishonored (Feat. Jessie Reyez): Sean Leon beginning the chorus with regret, first line being, “Forgive me Father, I ran and I ran to nirvana,” and light acoustic guitar playing in the background. The verse starts off with Reyez and background vocals from Leon. The song is about an already ended unhealthy relationship but still missing the partner and asking for forgiveness for loving someone who only hurt them.


Oxygen (Feat. Kanye West): Background chorus and minor piano chords lead into a violin before Leon and West begin their fist verse about having an unhealthy relationship with this person and knowing to let that relationship go. West brings in the chorus with his originating from West’s 2022 unreleased album “Donda 2.” Many fans know this song as “Sci-Fi”. Which was first previewed in the Stem Player release also previewed in Kanye’s short-film documentary titled, “LAST WEEK.”


Kingley’s Outro: Deep piano chords begin with fast paced drums coming in seconds after. Leon sings in the intro about wanting something and letting them know his intent by being honest. The chorus is the repeated lines, “If you gon’ love me, you gotta love all of me.”


Memories (Feat. Dylan Sinclair & Daniel Caesar): Background chorus and chimes leads into the intro lines of Leon “I get high off your memory.” The galactic sounding piano chords return with going with highs and lows as Sinclair begins his verse about using substances to remember. Leon on the chorus repeating, “Does it hurt to remember me?” and ending with Ceasar with the line, “As long as I have you in my brain.” Leon remembers his late brother in this track and how when he uses substances, all the memories come back.


Alive: Soft guitar strings and while Leon begins his last verse, the lines “Warzone outside” and “Protest they riot” show how there’s chaos going on in our lives, but we’re alive to get through it. The outro ends with Leon repeating “You’re alive.” An interesting end to this beautiful album.


This album is a good, surreal album with most songs being relaxed, but I feel like the transitions get kind of messy. For example, the transition from Aquarius to The Glade doesn’t do its job well with carrying you into the next song. However, the album has great moments for the production, like the unique use of piano chords and gospel vocals in the background, but they drag on in certain parts, especially on Equinox, with the chorus extending for a whole two minutes. The features are okay with most being R&B artists. I know since Kanye West was on this album people listened to it because of him, but his feature parts aren’t good. The bars are okay (except the Morgan Freeman bar, I liked that) but most feel copy and pasted from West’s unreleased album “Donda 2.” Overall I’ll give this album 5/10 stars, as it has some songs that are worth listening to.